contact us

ACA Level 4 Swiftwater Rescue Course

Our Swiftwater Rescue workshop teaches recognition and avoidance of common river hazards, execution of self-rescue techniques, and rescue techniques for paddlers in distress. Emphasis is placed both on personal safety and on simple, commonly used skills. Fundamental and more advanced techniques for dealing with hazards that
carry greater risks for both victim and rescuer, such as strainers, rescue vest applications, entrapments, and pins, also are practiced. Scenarios will provide an opportunity for participants to practice their skills both individually and within a team/group context.

Course Objectives:
– Promote proactive prevention of river accidents and injuries.
– Develop and practice key self-rescue skills.
– Identify and avoid river hazards by understanding hydrology, hazards, and river features.
– Focus on fast, low-risk strategies for early management of river accidents
– Develop and practice methods for recovering swimmers, and loose boats and equipment
– Develop and practice more advanced rope-based and in-water skills
– Gain experience using the rescue PFD, and understand its strengths and weaknesses
– Utilize rescue scene management principles needed within a paddling group

Here is a brief overview of the three day course and what to expect:

Day 1:
– Introductions
– Talk through Standard Operating Procedure for river rescue
– SWR Incident Management and roles
– Overview of SWR Equipment (specific to what team uses)
– Knots Overview
– River Session @ Souse Hole covering gaining access methods (Wading, Swimming…)

Day 2:
– Accident Avoidance
– Hazards & Hydrology
– Scene Assessment & Management
– Brief Overview of equipment for recreationalists (What everyone should have on the river)
– Knots for recreational users & Knot Test for SAR (In two groups)
– Throw Bag Use (Dry Land Intro)
– River session @ Souse Hole Covering “Quick Rescues” Two Stations – Boat Based rescue & Throw Bagging
– Two Scenarios @ end of day for groups to rotate through

Day 3:
– Introductions
– Pins & Entrapments
– Methods for unpinning Boats (Anchoring to boats, Direct Pull, Vector Pull & Mechanical Advantage)
– Foot Entrapment – Methods for stabilization & extraction
– River session @ Souse Hole covering Advanced skills – Tethered Swimmer & V-Lowers
– Rotate Through Scenarios two different advanced scenarios

Boating Gear
Boat* (Kayak, Inflatable Kayak, SUP) Paddle, Helmet, PFD, shoes, skirt, warm clothing

*We will use boats mostly for scenarios and drills. Our course will take place in a stationary setting. No need to bring bigger crafts.

Rescue Gear:
Throw Bag, Whistle, Knife
*You will need a Type V Rescue PFD to participate in some higher level skills throughout the course. We have a few extras that we can allow people to share.

Pre Course Work:
Check out these Video Knot Tutorials – Having practiced these before the course can greatly increase our time on the water and doing other skills.

  • Instructional Clinics
Nearby Cities
  • Abiquiu
  • Albuquerque
  • Angel Fire
  • Red River
  • Santa Fe
  • Taos
  • Taos Ski Valley
  • Rio Grande
  • $250 Per Person
  • Sept 11 – Sept 13